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Who Pays? The Delicate Balance of Dating and Money

For many people who are in the dating scene, the issue of money and who should pay is a rather thorny issue and can be one of the pivotal points in having an otherwise fantastic date go sour in a matter of seconds.

payingbill

The underlying dynamics of who should pay are often so subtle, most people couldn’t be bothered to understand what they’re sub-communicating to their date in terms of how you view money – for better or worse.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Your Date Is Your Guest

The general rule of thumb is that if you’re inviting someone out that person is your guest; so treat them as such. You’re inviting them into “your world” in order to get to get to know you better.

From my experience out in the dating scene, the last thing you want is to be known as “That Stingy Guy” – it’s not a very attractive label to have at all – especially if your date will be telling about his/her experiences with all of her friends and you realize the dating pool is a lot smaller than you originally imagined.

A Few Thoughts on Tipping

The practice of tipping, may be different depending on which region of the world you may be living in (such as Australia where it’s not expected that you tip at all). I usually go with anywhere between 10-15% which is the norm in Canada. However if the service is atrocious, I’d leave about 5% or none if it was that bad.

When it comes to loose change, I can’t be bothered with small change and have coins clinking around and cluttering up my pocket especially if you know the night will wear on, so use your own judgment accordingly.

Setting a Precedent

Let’s face it, going out on dates regularly can get pretty expensive. If you’re going out on a string of dates, it can quickly add up and you’ll soon realize that you can get in a money crunch if you’re not aware of how much money you’re spending on dates. I’m not talking about spending lavishly – it’s more so the frequency of going out can really make a dent on your pocket book. If the date goes well enough to warrant another date, don’t set a precedent where you’re always paying.

If you continually pay each time you and go out with your date (or significant other), what you’re essentially doing is conditioning your date to expect you to pay which is the last thing you want to happen. For me, in terms of who pays, I liken it to a game of tennis where you’re returning each other’s volley. If you’re going out of your way to organize a fantastic and fun date (the “first serve”), I would expect that there would be some effort to be reciprocated and they hold their own to keep the game going (return volley).

Going Dutch

If your date insists you “go dutch” at the end (splitting the bill between the two of you). The way I go about it would be something like this:

Your Date: No, no. I insist to pay for my portion.

You: Hear me out – if I invite a person out, they’re my guest and I treat them as such :).  Tell you what – the next time you invite me out, you can pay. Deal?

Your date: okay fair enough…

You: Great! Anyway, as we were talking about earlier…

Then You pick up where you left off before settling the bill.

This is a perfectly reasonable counter-argument that would clear up any squabbles and at the same time plant the seed for your next date – pending that your date goes well ;)

If your date isn’t budging on the issue, then just flow with it, don’t put up obstacles in them wanting to pay for their portion. Remember, the key to moving beyond this tricky portion of your date is to settle your bill in a quick, smooth and painless fashion. You can also be sneaky about this in a playful manner to get around this.

Make it Playful

The point of going out on a date is to not only to get to know each other and connect on a deeper level, not squabble over who owes how much (unless you feel like you’re being taken advantage of). The time spent with your date should first and foremost be fun! When you throw money into the mix, it can really throw off the vibe of a date if it’s going well. Usually I just bypass the whole awkward vibe by being sneaky and paying ahead without my date knowing.

Being Judged

You already know this, you’re constantly being judged while on a date. Everything you say and what you sub-communicate can and will be taken for face value. And of course there will be moments where you’re judged on how you treat your money. The key is to be unapologetic and not make an issue of it. There’s a fine line between being smart with your money and being stingy, I’ll leave you to guess which one is more attractive.

Closing Thoughts

I’m going to go out in a limb here and assume that as a reader of Million Dollar Journey, you’re smart with your money, socially intelligent and not to mention a fantastic date.

I’ve heard so many instances from female friends that their date was going so well until it came to paying for the bill. The unfortunate circumstance of their date being stingy was a total turn-off and subsequently didn’t want to go forward with seeing the person again.

To get to the root of the problem of who pays exactly, you’ll have to ask yourself what the priorities of going out on dates are. Is it to make a favourable impression and genuinely connect with your date on a deeper level in order to get to know him or her better? Is it worth running the risk of being labeled as stingy to save a few bucks ? Remember that you’ll have plenty of time to talk about “money psychology” when you’re in a relationship ;)

How do you usually go about handling the tricky issue of who pays and how has it affected your dating life?

You might also want to check out the Frugal Dating Etiquette Guide

meWill is the “Cheap Date Chief” and Founder of CheapDateIdeas.ca, which provides relevant and up to date cheap and free date ideas that are primarily focused in North America. Besides providing cheap date ideas to help you save money and still have an awesome time, his passions include personal development, improv, collecting Transformers toys, finding cool iPhone apps and drinking tea.

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About the author: This is a guest post. You can read more about the author in the biography above.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Ben October 15, 2009, 10:05 am

    Well, it’s been a lot of years since I’ve had to think about this kind of stuff. And even then, I don’t remember putting a lot of thought into it. When my wife and I were “dating”, we seem to have gotten on the same page so quickly that I can’t even remember who paid and when. I think it may have been a lot of “dutch”. Then again, she may have entirely different memories, and I am simply oblivious to what a pain I may have been!

    And it does strike me that serial dating could turn very expensive, very quickly. There’s something to be said for settling into a long term relationship, financially speaking. The need to impress with fancy dinners and activities goes down, and the desire to save together for a strong future grows.

  • The Financial Blogger October 15, 2009, 10:34 am

    I used to always pay… Not a frugal choice, but I see it as an “investment” ;-)

    Since I was making twice what my girlfriend used to make, I thought it was fair if I pay on a date.

    I guess it worked out pretty well since we have been together for the past 12 years and we are now married with 2 kids ;-)

    What I love about paying the bill on a date is the fact that I don’t have to feel bad if I choose a $75 bottle of wine. I love good meals and if I pay for it, nobody has to feel bad about paying the bill. Therefore, we can focus on what is really important: enjoying ourselves.

    This is what money is for, isn’t?

  • Ellen October 15, 2009, 10:49 am

    I am canadian and anything less than 15% is a stingy tip, sorry. I’m a frugal person and was never one to be interested in expensive dates – when my now-husband and I were dating, we did a lot of walking, talking, and coffee or dessert dates, which are easier on the buget. Didn’t bother me, I was interested in him, not the restaurants. But when we did go out for dinner, I would have been embarrassed if he left a 5 or 10% tip.

  • Alexandra October 15, 2009, 10:59 am

    I agree that the person asking for the date should pay.

    And Ellen, I agree that a tip for less than 15% is getting stingy. But is the 15% on the bill pre- or post-tax? It can make quite a difference, especially if you have had a few drinks and you are now paying three taxes (GST, PST and Liqour Tax).

    I tend to pay around 20% on the PRE-TAX total.

    Now my husband and I have a deal – he pays for all meals when we eat out and I pay for the weekly grocery bill. Sometimes I end up paying more that week, sometimes he does. And I think he likes the idea of reaching for the bill and being the manly-man ;-).

  • canucktuary October 15, 2009, 11:13 am

    Agreed, anything less than 15% is too stingy. 10% for bad service…but usually somewhere between 15-20% tip.

    Come on, these guys have to make a living too!

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 11:13 am

    @Ellen @ Alexandra, thanks for your comments!

    I love the subtle nuances of tipping :)

    I guess I forgot to mention that I usually tip 15% post tax (and sometimes more than warranted if alcohol was consumed ;), but it’s up to your discretion – there really is no hard and fast rule. I always take into consideration what my level of service like was while being served.

  • canucktuary October 15, 2009, 11:13 am

    Also, if the service is really bad, I’d bypass the tip and go straight to the manager. You could probably score a free meal out of it.

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 11:20 am

    @ Financial Blogger hahah.. yeah, I’m sure your wife appreciated your “investment” in her – in both time and money. You got the point of the post, bang on ;)

    @ Ben I agree with you on this one.. what you’re talking about is definitely a jump from first, 2nd or 3rd dates etc, in the initial phases of being attracted & “courtship” once a solid foundation is set for a couple. although surprising with fancy outings and dates is certainly appreciated once every so often ;)

  • Marianne O October 15, 2009, 11:55 am

    I’m a woman, and in my teens and twenties, I always insisted on going dutch on early dates. It can be a form of protection — especially if it’s a blind date. Sadly there are plenty of guys who fully expect to pick up the tab and then be repaid in sexual “favours” later. Luckily I’ve had only a couple of those situations, and those only when I failed to notify the fellow well in ADVANCE of the date that I would insist on splitting the bill.

    Eventually I developed the confidence and skills to deal with these expectations without having to insist on going dutch, but at the younger ages the “pay your way” approach was fantastic insurance.

    This is another reason not to push too hard for your point of view, if you want to pay the full tab. It can feel threatening to someone who’s been in the situation above.

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 12:17 pm

    Thanks for your sharing your experiences Marriane!

    It’s great to know a woman’s perspective on this and I know many girl-friends who take that approach so they don’t feel “obligated” in any way, which is entirely cool. Sometimes SOME (a very small subset of) men feel that they’re obligated to a little “something something” if they’ve pulled out all the stops on a date – which is a dated notion.

    I’m about to publish an article on this, which will be posted shortly, but I’ll share a few of my thoughts on it as a preview.

    If you’re “expecting” to reach some sort of outcome other than getting to know your date on a deeper level (“favours” etc), then you’re going to fail. Anything else that develops beyond having a deeper connection with each other is bonus.

  • nobleea October 15, 2009, 12:39 pm

    i went out on a lot of dates a while back. from the internet dating thing. somehow it always worked itself out. i’d pay once, then she’d pay next, etc etc. i don’t think i ever split a bill.

    15% is my standard for a good tip. if it’s bad service, 5-10%.

    in the first phases of dating, the person who is not paying for the meal shouldn’t even be looking at the bill, and certainly not the tip.

  • Mindy October 15, 2009, 1:23 pm

    Dating: A new fellow suggested two venues for our first date and offered to pick me up as well. I simply said I’d prefer to attend just the one, and to meet inside it. That resolved the issue of safety, plus preempted any awkward moment about who was paying. I liked that for both of us. I have no idea how we would work out who would be paying on subsequent dates, though. He tends to suggest expensive venues -this last one blew 5% of my (rather small) recreational budget- but I don’t feel comfortable having someone else pay for everything, either. I’m not yet sure how this will be worked out. Suggestions welcome!

    Tipping: I don’t believe in tipping as a requirement. Generally, people don’t tip home support workers, gas station attendants, janitors (some of my jobs along the way)…I have no idea why we have a standard for tipping specific portions of the service industry. Also, I simply can’t afford to pay for both a meal and a tip -I earnestly ponder whether workers in the food service industry would rather have people like me eating out at all (thus at least supporting their jobs), or only eating out if they can afford a tip. As it stands, I tip randomly, as I am inspired to.

  • Four Pillars October 15, 2009, 1:40 pm

    The thing that bugs me about tipping discussions is when people decide how much they want to tip on a regular basis and then smugly declare that anyone who doesn’t tip as well as they do is “cheap”.

    You only have to look at various tipping “guidelines” to realize that there is no real standard and you shouldn’t feel bad because your tipping rules are different than others.

    /rant

    As for dating – when I dated my wife I paid for everything. It worked out ok but after a while I started getting annoyed that she wouldn’t offer to pay for anything – I’m talking about after we had been dating for several months.

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 1:58 pm

    @ Four Pillars exactly. The whole thing about tipping is quite arbitrary. Anyway, I feel the important thing is to be not too self concscious or deviate from these tipping ‘mores’ and ‘norms’ too much – it’s at your own discretion and your own beliefs. To each their own, I say.

    The primary focus should be on getting to know each other and most importantly having fun!

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 2:07 pm

    Why don’t you suggest a venue that you’re comfortable with next time? Or check out CheapDateIdeas.ca for some cheap date ideas (my not-so-subtle-plug for my website ;)

    If it’s two different venues planned for the evening, if you allow him to pay, and you’re having fun and wanting to head to another venue, you can simply reciprocate and sweetly say that you’ve got the tab for next portion of the date because you’re having so much and you want to ;)

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 2:08 pm

    @ nobleea

    You’re one of the lucky few who didn’t have to experience the awkwardness of settling a bill at the end of a date. ;)

  • Adam October 15, 2009, 2:31 pm

    If you have to think about all this, you just don’t get it. Take cues from the situation, it will sort itself out just fine.

    I am surprised nobody has brought up Leykis 101 yet lol.

  • Mindy October 15, 2009, 2:53 pm

    Will: No, not lucky – strategic! That’s why I opted out of his lunch idea. Thanks for the ideas, especially the simple one of me choosing the next venue. More on that below…

    Adam: It’s true: I totally *don’t* get it. After that one date -fantastic as it was- I actually realized I’m not up for the dating scene at all! Between my schedule, semi-rural location with no car, fantastic community of friends, etc, I just don’t have the time, energy or interest for wandering into new and unknown territory.

    General: This particular fellow’s choice of venues also indicates different values. He likes a very urban, entertained and entertaining lifestyle, while I am happiest in my low key one, just hanging with friends and our respective kids. So, this is a place where money reflects values and because our values conflict, so do our approaches to finances. As Adam said, it will sort itself out – One day another low key person will appear in my life and we’ll have no trouble coming together without either of us having to scratch our heads over the matter of who’s paying for what, because we’ll both be immersed in activities of our own creations.

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 3:01 pm

    @ Mindy sorry for the repost, I didn’t address this to you specifically.

    Why don’t you suggest a venue that you’re comfortable with next time? Or check out CheapDateIdeas.ca for some cheap date ideas (my not-so-subtle-plug for my website ;)

    If it’s two different venues planned for the evening, if you allow him to pay, and you’re having fun and wanting to head to another venue, you can simply reciprocate and sweetly say that you’ve got the tab for next portion of the date because you’re having so much and you want to ;)

    —> good perspective on your situation, especially zeroing in on differences of values and beliefs. I think you have a great attitude!

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 3:06 pm

    If you have to think about all this, you just don’t get it. Take cues from the situation, it will sort itself out just fine.

    I am surprised nobody has brought up Leykis 101 yet lol.

    @ Adam thank you for your feedback

    The truth of the matter is, some people just “don’t get it” as you say, and perhaps need a differing perspective to get them thinking a little.. differently.

    I’d hate to see people repeating the same patterns over and over in their dating lives because they weren’t cognizant of underlying issues that may be, in fact, detrimental and counter-productive.

  • Rob @ [=DU=] October 15, 2009, 3:07 pm

    From a Male Perspective – There is a somewhat easy Rule of Thumb.

    It’s easy to get all caught up in the moment, put your best foot forward and do your best to make it a great evening.

    I used to be the guy that would pay for everything, ALL the time… Then all of a sudden, you find yourself a year into a relationship and can’t afford to pay half of the time (let alone most of it) and the other party starts to feel ‘less important’ or like ‘maybe you don’t care as much’… As Will said be weary of ‘expectations’. Raising the bar is fine, but be careful you don’t raise it too high for yourself. I’ve seen this become a sore spot in enough peoples relationships over the years.

    The ‘simple’ Rule of Thumb (Especially when you start dating someone new):

    First Date – do your best (within reason) to cover the night.
    Unless your date absolutely insists they want to pay. Then accommodate them, go 50/50 (You can always get her a treat later – Dessert or something cute, etc.)

    If you invite them out – they’re your guest – take care of the bill.

    If they invite you out – Take care of your own bill.

    If they TAKE you out – Maybe Celebrating a Birthday or a Promotion (or maybe even just because they are in a great mood) THEN it’s an okay time to let them pay for you :)

    Tipping Etiquette is a whole other ballgame. The only easy answer is do what’s comfortable for you and what you would normally do. Otherwise this could set a different set of ‘Expectations’.

    Good Luck out there! ‘Love is a Battlefield’ and all that ;P

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 3:19 pm

    Hey Rob!

    Great breakdown -> for brevity’s sake, I couldn’t cover ALL facets of this conversation :)

  • Briefcases October 15, 2009, 4:39 pm

    Great post. This definitely is an issue on the dating scene. If a person is doing well financially, they usually have no problem paying for a date. The problem more exists on 2nd, 3rd and 4th dates where your date might expect you to keep paying. Sure you’d love to keep treating them, but it isn’t always within your financial means. So if they keep insisting on letting you pay, eventually you have to say something without causing too much conflict.

  • mojo30 October 15, 2009, 7:28 pm

    As a 31yo male in the dating scene, I can tell you that if I ask the girl out then I will pay for the date, on the second date I expect her to at least offer..if she dosent I wont go out with her again.. I have been lucky in the last while, I would ask her out and they insist on paying..that works too.

    Women have been wanting equal rights, and I agree with it..but not only what benefits them. I have divorced friends in their 40’s who didnt read the sing while dating..they are paying alimony now.

  • Robert October 15, 2009, 8:02 pm

    Whomever asks the other person out pays…it’s that simple. But I’m traditional so I always pay for a woman.

  • Financial Samurai October 15, 2009, 8:05 pm

    This is such an eqsy question to answer. The person who asks out pays, ALWAYS!

    Come on guys. If you don’t know this, then you aren’t going to take the next step in the relationship.

    Don’t be cheap!

  • Financial Samurai October 15, 2009, 8:06 pm

    Mojo – There is no way you should expect the girl to pay on the 2nd date. Maybe the 10th date, but not until then.

    Where’s the chivalry?

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 15, 2009, 8:19 pm

    Hey all,

    The thing is that there no “One Size Fits All” approach to every single situation.

    What if you met someone who was for equal rights or was a feminist who insists on equality and “not wanting to buckle to the forces of patriarchy”? (who I’ve dated and had fantastic relationships with). Where do you go from there and how do you handle that? It makes things a little trickier doesn’t it ? :) So having an reference point through our collective experiences certainly helps – for both men and women.

    By having this very conversation in the comments, we can all learn from each other.

    I’m grateful to Frugal Trader allowing me to open up this sort of discussion here, and I’m looking forward to more of your constructive comments :)

  • Charles in Vancouver October 16, 2009, 2:07 am

    From a gay perspective… I’m 27 and the “who pays” issue has always been considerably simpler. There is no cultural standard guiding whether “the guy or the guy” should pay… so the vast majority of dates I’ve been on are split 50-50; or “I’ll get this one, you get the next one”, or “I’ll get dinner, you get the movie tickets”, etc.

    The only deviation from this has been when my date is older (even if only by 4-5 years or so) and earning more than me. Especially if he invites me out to a classier place than I’d usually go by my own income standards (I’m a grad student, and in some of these situations I was still in undergrad), he typically insists on paying. If he’s younger and earning more, still usually 50-50.

    Now what if I’m the one earning more? Well, while the fact that I have a healthy savings nest egg may put me in a better financial situation than many other 20somethings, I’ve had a rather meagre income for years while I slog away at the second of two university degrees. So I’ve never really had the opportunity to have a considerably higher *income* than my date. I may face this situation for the first time ever in my life in the next few years, when I will have graduated and (fingers crossed) found a decent job.

  • Green October 16, 2009, 2:25 am

    Paying 50-50 is the new norm I think but I always considered that when asked out on a date I was the guest and expected the other party to at least offer to pay and likewise if I did the asking it was my turn to pay.

  • best satellite receiver October 16, 2009, 5:11 am

    Well who pays the bill is not the matter of concern for me. Its always my hubby paid the bill every time when we were dating. when its a long term relationship money doesn’t matters what matters is you enjoy the company of each other, and will not mind in spending.

  • YYC27 October 16, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I’m with Charles … figuring out whether the guy or the guy should pay is a lot less complicated. ;)

    In my experience, if it’s a first date, usually whoever initiated it pays. Later on, we take turns .. or the “i’ll pay for dinner, you can get the movie tickets” thing.

    The only time I actually split a bill is when I’m out with friends. I just don’t think doing math at the dinner table is sexy. ;)

  • Ms Save Money October 16, 2009, 3:24 pm

    This whole who pays what on a date is cheesy.

    Rule of thumb – if you’re a guy and you ask a girl out – you pay. End of story.

  • Kathryn October 16, 2009, 5:52 pm

    I agree with YYC27. The person who does the asking pays the first time. After that, it’s easier to take turns paying. That way you can do different activities based on the payee’s budget. Gender really shouldn’t enter into it.

    If one partner earns more, he or she is free to invite the other out to a more expensive venue. If the other partner is on a tighter budget, then when it’s their turn, they can ask their date out for an event that better suits their budget.

  • Clf October 16, 2009, 7:29 pm

    I’ve always made more than my dates, or wives, so I’ve always felt obligated to pay. However, if they decide they want to “lush out”, they should at least start coughing some cash up for those horrid “shooter”

  • Mike October 16, 2009, 7:51 pm

    Women go ‘out’ with the guy who pays for everything, they sleep with the guys who won’t spend a penny on them. It’s counter intuitive, I know, but it’s guys who give ‘dating advice’ that usually don’t get it. That’s why they drink green tea and collect transformer toys.

    Enough of the lava life, and back to finances…

  • Will @ Cheap Date Ideas! October 16, 2009, 10:19 pm

    @ Mike

    I liked your playful jab there, buddy ;)

    You had me all figured out.

    Good idea. Soo… let’s get back to our finances now shall we? :)

    Cheers,

    Will

  • Montreal Waiter October 17, 2009, 2:49 am

    I’ve worked in restaurants for a while (11 years+) and also grew up in the business because of family. Most of my entourage work in this industry as well, which I guess is to be expected…

    I do hundreds of transactions per week from couples when it’s time to pay the bill. For the majority, the men usually pay. (The norm is not 50/50) In the long term my friends and I see this as a good thing. If your date really likes you won’t she return the favor by getting you a gift, surprising you with tickets to a show or offer to pay for those car repairs? It’s just a night out, if you can’t afford it, go somewhere you can. Be honest with your date from the start.

    But what I really want to get to is the tipping question. Want to hear from the other side? Waiters consider a good tip to be 15 percent of the after-tax total. The reality? We usually get 10-12 percent from most clientèle with a minority who (thankfully) tip much more. (The reason behind this is less about service or any “norms” that are out there. After the GST got reduced a couple of years back, so did waiters’ tips. It had a huge effect on those who depend on tips for a living. Most people tip some variation of the sum of the federal and provincial taxes, which in Quebec is 12.5 percent.)

    Waiters have to continuously raise the bar on quality and speed of service. Customers expect good service and one mistake can completely mess up your chances of getting a good tip even though you worked hard to please your client. Waiters give good service not only to get a good tip but for clients to come back. For someone who also has an ownership stake in an establishment, understand that this affects revenue in a big way.

    On a side note, when my friends and I go out, we usually tip in the 25-30 percent range. Think that’s excessive? Well… we work in the business, what do you expect?? There’s more to it than that of course :p A good tip is always remembered. People remember and they talk, to everyone. That doorman you tip may let you cut the line next time. The hostess might get you the best table in the place. The barmaid? She’ll serve you before anyone else in the crowd. (I’m not saying to tip all these people of course! Be strategic.)

    Best of all, having a waiter come to the back of a line to greet you (by name of course) will impress your date :D

    (Next time your waiter screws up, give the guy a break! Remember, he’s your host for the night, ask him what he can do to fix the problem. With a little patience, all mistakes can be corrected.)

    (sorry for the rant)

    cheers from montreal!!

  • Canadian CC October 17, 2009, 5:07 pm

    As for tipping, I work with a simple grid:

    waiter status: sucks
    tip: 0%

    waiter status: ok but slow
    tip: 5-10%

    waiter status: nice and convenient:
    tip: 15%

    waiter status: great service, good advices, proactivity
    tip: up to 25%

    The worst part is that I regularly tip over 15%…I guess that Montreal waiters/waitresses are awesome (and pretty! hahaha!) ;-)

  • cannon_fodder October 19, 2009, 1:07 am

    I’m surprised no one mentioned that (at least for the first few dates) DON’T use a coupon!

    I never did but I certainly knew my wife was a match for me when I could use a coupon for dinner and she supported that.

    I don’t agree that the man should always pay for the woman nor that if you make twice as much you should pay more often unless you are now in a committed relationship.

    You ask out, you pay. If the other person wants to split it, then a polite explanation of your position with an offer to accept being treated the next time is a great approach.

    As far as tipping goes, I’ve travelled internationally and I’ve seen my share of lousy service (Australia – where they don’t generally tip) and fantastic service (China – where they also don’t generally tip).

    In North America, I think our service is generally quite good. However, when it is not, make sure you don’t penalize the individuals who are not at fault. And, if you feel justified with a less than normal tip, make sure you call the manager over to explain. If you don’t give them information which will help them improve their service, then you are not laying the groundwork for that service to improve.

    Most importantly, make sure you do the same when you have great service. Whenever I am fortunate enough to have a great meal or exceptional service, I not only compliment the server, but I ask to speak to their manager as well. And I’ve done this at a KFC, not just at a nice restaurant!

  • Canada Deals October 19, 2009, 7:22 pm

    Sooo glad, for both financial and sanity reasons lol, that dating isn’t in the equation for me anymore.

  • Regina October 21, 2009, 2:56 pm

    OK – having served people at a restaurant, I know how hard they actually work (granted some don’t work as hard as others), and therefore, my minimum tip is about 15%. Only if the service was REALLY bad (and I’ve already spoken to the manager) do I tip less than 15% – normally, about 20% – OF THE TOTAL BILL (including tax)(simply because it’s just easier to figure!).

    Also – I have run into the “No, I insist that I at least pay my part” discussion… I’ve found an easy solution. If the other person insists on paying, but I insist on paying MY part, then I suggest that I leave the tip. Since I have seen the menu and I know what I ordered costs, and can figure up about what the meal cost, I tip based on that….

  • Neil October 21, 2009, 8:33 pm

    Turns out that I have no real desire to date someone who views splitting the bill as “stingy.” As you say, it’s about setting precedent. If you split the bill, the precedent is that this is a relationship of equals. If you pay for it, you set the precedent that you’re the sugar daddy.

    Now, there’s are mitigating factors. If you’re asking someone out and taking them somewhere fancy that they would never have gone on their own, then it’s more reasonable to cover the whole cost. If you’ve invited someone out that’s in a lower tax bracket, it might be good form to cover the cost. Both of these are cases where your chosen activities may qualify as a burden to your date.

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